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Eur J Nucl Med. 1999 Dec;26(12):1560-6.

Evaluation of small-bowel transit for solid and liquid test meal in healthy men and women.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, UZ KULeuven, Belgium.


Evaluation of severe functional gastrointestinal motility disorders requires an investigation of the entire gastrointestinal tract. This should be possible with a single radionuclide imaging study. The purpose of this study was (1) to define normal values of small-bowel transit in men and women and (2) to assess a possible difference between gender or test meal, since it has been shown that women have slower gastric emptying than men, and gastric emptying of solids is slower than liquids. A standard gastric-emptying test for a solid (technetium-99m sulphur colloid, 230 Kcal) and liquid (indium-111 DTPA water) test meal was performed in 12 healthy male and 12 healthy female volunteers. After 135 min, the volunteer was placed in the supine position for static imaging of the abdomen every 15 min for 6 h. Decay and crossover-corrected geometric mean gastric-emptying data were fit to a modified power exponential function to determine the 10% stomach emptying time for solids and liquids separately. An ROI was drawn around the caecum and ascending colon to determine the arrival time of at least 10% of the solid and liquid test meal. Ten percent small-bowel transit time (10% SBTT) and orocaecal transit time (OCTT) were calculated. The OCTT for males and females, respectively for solids and liquids, are 294.6 +/- 18.8; 301.3 +/- 24.5; 294.6 +/- 18.8 and 301.3 +/- 24.5 min. The 10% SBTT for males and females, respectively for solids and liquids, are 280.3 +/- 18.4; 280.6 +/- 24.0; 288.2 +/- 18.9 and 297.4 +/- 24.4 (mean +/- SEM) min. We observed a simultaneous transfer of solids and liquids from the terminal ileum to caecum (correlation coefficient 0.90). There is no statistically significant difference in SBTT between gender or solids and liquids. In contrast to the gastric-emptying time, the SBTT of solids and liquids were not significantly different nor was a gender difference found. Determination of the OCTT seems to be the simplest and most accurate approach to measure SBTT. Since ileocaecal transfer occurs as a bolus phenomenon, a 111In-labelled test meal can also be used for the determination of colon transit in a single imaging study protocol.

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